10 Foolproof Dishes to Impress a Date

Cheeseburger with Havarti cheese

Candice Bell / Getty Images

If I’m dating someone, I know that I’m really starting to like them when I get the urge to invite them to dinner. Cooking is one of my love languages, and there is no better way to show someone that I feel strongly for them than by making a delicious home-cooked meal. As old-fashioned as it sounds, I actually enjoy cooking for them! What is less enjoyable is the agony I experience beforehand as I try to figure out what to make. The ideal meal is comforting, hearty, tasty, and easy to prepare. It should look something like the recipes shown here. Some of these dishes I have actually made for the special someone in my life, and trust me—they were impressed! Whether you’re cooking for a significant other or your dad, you can’t go wrong with one of these 10 foolproof date night dishes.

Bistro Steak with Buttermilk Onion Rings

Bistro Steak With Buttermilk Onion Rings
Gentl & Hyers / Bon Appétit

When I called my friend in a panic about what to make for a new beau, she didn’t hesitate. She simply said, “Bon Appetit's bistro steak with onion rings.” She was right: This dish is a steak lover’s dream, and the homemade onion rings are so fun. When was the last time he had homemade onion rings? The answer may be never.

Patty Melt

patty melt
The Cozy Apron

Another dish your date probably hasn’t had homemade in quite a while? A patty melt. Make yours gourmet with thick slices of sourdough bread, sautéed shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, and Havarti cheese, using this recipe from The Cozy Apron.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs
The Kitchy Kitchen

I’ve never met someone who turned down a plate of classic spaghetti and meatballs. This nostalgic dish by The Kitchy Kitchen is a consistent crowd-pleaser. If you’re dating an Italian stallion, be sure to double-taste that sauce. You want it to be better than his mama’s!

Lamb Chops

Lamb Chops
Taste Food Blog

Lamb chops are finger-licking good, but the best ones require marinating in advance. Purchase the lamb chops in this recipe by TasteFood the night before your date and let them bathe overnight in the garlic and rosemary mixture. When they arrive, all you have to do is toss the chops in a grill pan and go. Serve with heirloom tomato, burrata salad, and crispy bread.

Orange Sesame Grilled Salmon

Salmon on a dish
Pineapple and Coconut

Is your S.O. watching their waistline? Serve up a healthy platter of orange sesame grilled salmon. This Asian-inspired salmon recipe from Pineapple and Coconut is plated on a bed of sticky rice with sautéed onions, zucchini, and bell peppers. Delish!

Salami Salad

Melon, mozzarella and salami salad
Tesco Real Food

When I asked a married girlfriend what dish won her husband’s heart over, she said, “It’s kind of strange, but I made him a salad with salami at the start of our relationship, and he thought it was the most genius thing in the whole world.” That’s because it is genius! Every guy has had a salad with bacon, but probably very few have experienced a salad with salami, right? Go ahead: Blow his mind with this recipe from Tesco!

Beef Tacos

Beef Tacos
Allison+Partners PR

Ground beef in a crunchy taco with shredded lettuce, cheddar cheese, and sour cream? Yes, please! This childhood favorite by News for Chews grows up with homemade crispy taco shells and a fragrant tomato-based beef mixture. If you have time, whip up a batch of guacamole and margaritas to start the meal.

Roast Chicken

Roast Chicken
Eva Kolenko / Bon Appétit

There is no dish quite like roast chicken. It’s always scrumptious and almost impossible to mess up. The best thing about this roast chicken recipe from Bon Appétit is that it fills your house with the most delectable aroma.

Cauliflower and Roasted Garbanzo Bean Rice Bowl

cauliflower rice bowl
The First Mess

If you’re falling for a vegan, make them a cauliflower and roasted garbanzo bean rice bowl. The rice in this clever recipe from The First Mess is actually finely ground cauliflower.

Classic Cheeseburgers

Peden + Munk / Bon Appétit

Everyone loves burgers, and when it comes to burgers, you can’t go wrong taking a note from Bobby Flay. His recipe for traditional cheeseburgers is turned up a notch with a quick homemade slaw, chipotle ketchup, and potato chips. Yes, potato chips. Don’t leave them out—they make this burger!

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